Lady Bug Lunchbox

Topic : Daily Glimpses

“What lunchbox do I have today, mama?”
My daughter asks.

“The owl one.”

“NOOOOOOO!!!!!! I WANTED THE LADYBUG!!!!!”
I had offered her the ladybug lunchbox earlier
But it was thrown across the kitchen floor.

She kicks against the backseat.

My mind begins its battle

“Getting the other lunchbox is not a big deal, we’re in the driveway.”

“I don’t need to get this fucking other lunchbox, stay in the car and let’s go”

We’re late leaving for school already and the unbuckle and buckle process seems like it takes hours instead of minutes on a rushed morning.

“I. WANT. THE. LADYBUG. ONE!!!!!!!!!!!”

I have lost the battle of the lunch boxes.
I KNOW if I don’t get the ladybug it will take twice as long to get to school.

I can hear my mother’s voice in my head, “She should listen to you! What you say goes.”

Put the car into drive.
Pull back into the garage.
Stomp into the house
Get the ladybug.
Huff into the car.

“This is so frustrating for me! There is no reason why the owl lunchbox isn’t fine! There is no reason for me to be doing this!”

I yell at her.

To stop yelling at me.

The irony is not lost here.

“MMMMMOOOOOOMMMMMM!!!!”
“I HAVE TO TELL YOU SOMETHING!!!”

“WHAT??????????”

“I love you”.

And there it is.

The momentum of my anger is stopped.
The heat of rage releases out of my body like water pouring from a jar.

My racing mind quiets.

“I love you too, hon.”
My voice is irritated but the softening has begun.

The shame starts to rise.

Silence as we drive.

“It looks like fog, mom.
That’s why there’s rain”

“Yep, honey. It is raining, isn’t it?”

I want to turn the morning around.
Desperate to drop her off on a happier note.

“I’m sorry I used a loud voice, I was frustrated and upset at being yelled at.
I know I shouldn’t get so upset but I do and I can work on being loud. Can we both work on not yelling at each other?
I want you to know even though I yell sometimes, I love you.”

The baby babbles but she is silent for a moment. And then,

“There’s a book at school where a doggie pops the other doggie’s ball.”

She’s off talking about the book for the rest of the drive.

I drop her off.
We hug.
She doesn’t linger like she usually does.

I get back into the car and drive home.
My mind goes to horrible places

What if that was my last morning with my daughter?

Wasted yelling about a lunchbox?
Being irritated she didn’t get her shoes on faster?

I count the moments till I pick up so I can do better.

Many days I do this.

I go home and think on my anger, lack of patience.
The inability to take a breath before I explode.
Years of habitual reaction now thrown at my child.

And for what?

Nothing but days filled with regret and the longing for the “do-over” I’ll never get.

Emma
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